The Minister of Infrastructure, Wally Schumann announced today that the Government of the Northwest Territories welcomes the decision by the Responsible Ministers to adopt the recommendations of the Mackenzie Valley Environmental Review Board on the environmental assessment of the Tłı̨chǫ All-Season Road (TASR), including measures modified by the Tłı̨chǫ Government and responsible Ministers through the consult to modify process with the Board. The Tłı̨chǫ Government has also separately concurred with the report.
Mr. Speaker, 2018’s fire season was well below-average for the Northwest Territories. A total of 56 fires were reported, affecting 13,222 hectares. In comparison, there were 249 fires and just over 860 thousand hectares burned in 2017. The 25-year average is 231 fires and about 686 thousand hectares burned each fire season.
Mr. Speaker, later today I will table the Government Response to the Findings and Recommendations of the Aurora College Foundational Review marking the end of a year-long review process.
This Review has provided an opportunity to step back and evaluate where we are today and where we need to be in the future. Postsecondary education is essential to the growth and prosperity of our territory, and Aurora College continues to play a critical role in providing residents with options for obtaining that education in the NWT.
Mr. Speaker, the Government of the Northwest Territories made a commitment in its mandate to ensure that effective supports and programs are available for persons with disabilities. Our government believes that every person living with a disability has the full right to citizenship and opportunity which is why we have been working with our partners and stakeholders to advance plans that will effectively guide our efforts to support this goal.
Mr. Speaker, the employees of the Government of the Northwest Territories are dedicated to the work that they do and are committed to the success of their communities. Hundreds of employees spend countless hours giving back to their communities through volunteer work during their personal time.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this moment to recognize all of the employees who volunteer in their communities. How we take care of one another is what shapes the character of our communities and what makes the North unique and special.
The Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) is providing an update on the distribution and sales of legalized cannabis in the Northwest Territories.
On October 17, 2018, when cannabis was legalized across the country, the GNWT began sales through existing liquor store vendors and via on-line. In the first four days of operations, sales of legal cannabis totaled approximately $129,600. Of this total, approximately $10,900 was the result of on-line sales. Sales took place in all NWT regions.
Mr. Speaker, the Department of Municipal and Community Affairs is working to improve emergency management in the Northwest Territories so that we can better serve communities and help ensure the safety and security of residents.
Mr. Speaker, the sustainability and growth of the NWT economy requires strategic investment and diversification. The mandate we set for our 18th Legislative Assembly highlights the importance of investing in renewable resources, agriculture, arts, fisheries, forestry, manufacturing, tourism, traditional harvesting and the knowledge economy.
Check Against Delivery
Mr. Speaker, we are continuing with our mandate commitment to implement the Education Renewal and Innovation Framework and Action Plan. I am pleased to report that the education system is improving to meet the needs of the students, educators and families of the Northwest Territories. We are at the mid-point of our 10-year strategy, and we are seeing numerous successes and further opportunities for action.
Minister of Health and Social Services, Glen Abernethy provided a statement on the 2018 Office of the Auditor General of Canada’s Report on Child and Family Services in the Northwest Territories.
“Our top priority is to ensure the safety and security of children and youth receiving services and care from Child and Family Services. The Auditor General’s report contains findings that are disappointing and concerning to all of us and which require immediate action to address.